Friday, July 17, 2009

Cornish Summer

The difference between summer in Cornwall and summer in California is this; when the sun shines in Cornwall you rush at it like you are trying to catch the tail of a flying kite. You run and race and try as hard as you can to cram in every ounce of summertime. Luckily Max has enthusiastically embraced a childhoods-worth of summer activities. In a few short weeks there have been boat trips and barbeques, lobster pots and mackerel lines, rock-pooling and razor shells, pasties, rope swings, grasshoppers and dragon flies. There's been ice-cream on eyelashes and leaking cones, 'grabble' and grass, sand in shoes and swim things and snacks, eel catching, crab catching, and scrambling down steep ravines to inaccessible beaches, no 'lifegardens' in sight. Oli has obligingly participated in all this strapped to a back or held in willing arms. We've dug out matchbox cars from the 1980s, and found they give the same amount of pleasure despite the decades. We've looked for trout in the stream and jumped in the waves of incoming tides. I've learnt again the smell of the fish cellars, a blend of rust and rotting mackerel. With a little less enthusiasm but still some wonder we've stared up at clouds of flat and ominous grey and walked out in rainfall in perfect vertical lines. We've looked up at soggy bunting and stared down at stings from nettles and searched in the hedges for doc leaf cures. And all the time there's been a backdrop of hydrangas; purple, pink and blue, tall agapanthas bending in the wind and the sweet smell of budlia, flickering with cabbage whites. The east wind has brought sunshine but choppy seas. Bright seagulls have cawed above us in the changing skies and at our feet, cats on the slip, have licked their limbs in the sunshine, seemingly the only ones who know the secret of how to slow the pace.

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